Phelan gets Group 1 with girlfriend’s help
By Jonny Turner
Though they were apart, Scott Phelan and girlfriend Emma Anderson enjoyed an incredible Valentine’s Day when Wainui Creek delivered them a group 1 win in the New Zealand Standardbred Breeders Stakes at Addington.
Phelan gave his Barry Purdon trained mare a perfect run in the trail, before she overhauled the leader Bettor’s Heart, to notch his first top grade win in the sulky on Friday night.
The win puts Anderson, who is widely known as Terror To Love’s former strapper, in contention for producing the best Valentine’s Day’s gift in harness racing.
The former Canterbury horsewoman, who now works alongside Phelan at Purdon’s stable, had spent her week looking after Wainui Creek, who was clearly perfectly prepared for her Group 1 assignment.
The only glitch in the couple’s extraordinary Valentine’s Day, came when Anderson flew back to Auckland to help the Purdon stable line up its team at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
“The horse has been at Jeff Whittaker’s and Emma has been down here looking after her and she has obviously done a great job,” Phelan said.
“But, she had to fly home today, so she wasn’t all that happy about that.”
Phelan had notched the first of his 12 Group 1 placings in New Zealand behind Purdon’s star former pacer, Holmes DG, in the 2002 Interdominion pacing final in 2003.
The reinsman was delighted to return to the same track almost 17 years later to break through for his first Group 1 victory in the same colours.
“It is just awesome.”
“To do it with Barry is fantastic, it couldn’t have worked out any better to get my first one with him.”
“I have been a bit of a bludger running placings in Group 1s up until now, so it is great to finally get one.”
Wainui Creek dashed along the inner to hold out Bettor’s Heart by half a length in a driving finish with horses spread across the track.
Step Up was a further neck away in third, ahead of the unlucky Sociable.
The favourite, Princess Tiffany, was headed easily by Wainui Creek at the start, before driver Natalie Rasmussen took her to the parked position with around 1800m left to run.
The 4yr-old disappointed when fading to run 11th.
The All Stars stable later reported the filly had suffered a heart fibrillation.
Phelan was not the only driver to produce a group race first at Addington on Friday night.
Canterbury reinsman Robbie Close notched his first group victory with a patient drive behind Splash Cola in the group 3 Summer Trotting Free-For-All.
The Regan Todd trained trotter came with a late run to nail runner-up Pres The Belle on the line to win the 1980m feature.
The All Stars stable still had plenty to celebrate on Friday night despite Princess Tiffany’s shock defeat.
Another Masterpiece won the group 3 Summer Cup, which was made an exciting affair by tearaway leader Jazzy Star.
Amazing Dream won the listed Sales Series Fillies Final, also with Rasmussen in the sulky.